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Guggenheim Fellowship Awarded to Anna Deavere Smith

Wednesday, Apr 6, 2016

Playwright and actor Anna Deavere Smith, University Professor at the Tisch School's Department of Art and Public Policy and affiliated with the School of Law, was named as one of this year's recipients of the 2016 Guggenheim Fellowships. This year’s 175 recipients were chosen from nearly 3,000 applicants in the United States and Canada. 

“These artists and writers, scholars and scientists represent the best of the best,” said Edward Hirsch, president of the foundation. “Each year since 1925, the Guggenheim Foundation has always bet everything on the individual, and we’re thrilled to continue to do so with this wonderfully talented and diverse group. It’s an honor to be able to support these individuals to do the work they were meant to do.”

Anna Deavere Smith is widely recognized as having developed a new form of theater dedicated to social change. Her plays include Twilight: Los Angeles, Fires in the Mirror, and most recently, Let Me Down Easy.  She has received the National Humanities Medal, the MacArthur Award, the Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize, two Tony nominations, two Obies, and many other distinctions.  Deavere Smith’s screen credits include Gloria Akalitus on the Showtime series Nurse Jackie, and Nancy McNally, national security advisor on The West Wing. Her newest work focuses on the school to prison pipeline and the circumstances that inhibit impoverished children from having a positive experience in education.

Deavere Smith is one of six NYU faculty to receive this year's fellowship. Others include:

• Artist Susan De Beer, associate professor of art professions at NYU’s Steinhardt School, works in the mediums of film and installation, sculpture, and photography.  Her work has been the subject of solo shows at various leading arts spaces around the world, including Kunst Werke, Berlin; the Whitney Museum of American Art at Altria; the MuHKA Museum in Antwerp; Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions in Los Angeles; and the Marianne Boesky Gallery. 

• Sociologist Kathleen Gerson, Collegiate Professor of Sociology at the College of Arts and Science, is the author of The Unfinished Revolution: How a New Generation is Reshaping Family, Work, and Gender in America and other works: The Time Divide: Work, Family, and Gender Inequality, a co-authored volume; No Man’s Land: Men’s Changing Commitments to Family and Work; and Hard Choices: How Women Decide About Work, Career, and Motherhood.

• Artist Lyle Ashton Harris, associate professor of art at NYU’s Steinhardt School, is known for his work in video, photography and performance. His work has been exhibited at the Guggenheim Museum, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London, the Kunsthalle Basel, and the Centre d'Art Contemporain in Geneva. He has received numerous awards for his photography, which has appeared The New York Times Magazine, Newsweek and Vibe.

• Poet Deborah Landau, director of NYU’s Creative Writing Program, is the author of three collections of poetry: The Uses of the Body, included on "Best of 2015" lists by The New Yorker, Vogue, BuzzFeed, and O, The Oprah Magazine, as well as The Last Usable Hourand Orchidelirium, selected by Naomi Shihab Nye for the Robert Dana Anhinga Prize for Poetry.

• Writer Amanda Petrusich, clinical assistant professor in the Gallatin School of Individualized Study, is author of Do Not Sell At Any Price: The Wild, Obsessive Hunt for the World's Rarest 78rpm Records. A music and culture writer, she has also penned It Still Moves: Lost Songs, Lost Highways, and the Search for the Next American Music and Pink Moon, an account of the creation of Nick Drake’s album of the same name.